One of the big items on my technology wish list is a tool that will allow me to mash together family history details with other historical information to create a dynamic timeline. Ideally, I would be able to import data from my genealogy software into this timeline (or, better yet, the timeline feature in my genealogy software would be robust enough to allow me to add all of these details). So far, I haven’t seen a tool that lets me do all of the timeline things I want. There are several interesting timeline tools are the market that come close, however. I’m test driving them now. This evening, I started playing with a tool called TimeGlider. Here’s a screenshot detail.
I do like the option of using different icons and colors to represent different types of events. For instance, in the screenshot above, you can see all of the census info clearly marked with orange plus signs and birth dates with green stars. I also like the ability to click-and-drag the timeline back and forth across the decades, select an amount of time to view in one screen width, change the icon sizes to emphasize or de-emphasize different events, and the option to enhance the timeline with documents and photographs. As far as I can tell, there is no way to populate my timeline with data from other sources; I just typed in each of the events shown above to see how the tool works.
The TimeGlider blog had a post in December about big site changes that are forthcoming in 2010, from new features to new pricing levels (right now, it’s free in beta). Since I already like this tool as it is, I’ll keep an eye out for those changes.